The Sun Also Sets
is the long-time owner of Hemingway's, the charming restaurant
and bar nestled at the eastern foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
It's one of the best places on the Bay to watch a sunset while
munching terrific local seafood or sipping a tropical drink. In
1992, Biana and a partner purchased Hemingway's. This March, she
bought out her partner's share.
Arentz had not planned to become a restaurateur. Her conservative
parents vehemently disapproved of young ladies working in restaurants.
During her college years at Georgetown University, she simply
neglected to inform them she was a waitress at The Tombs, a popular
spot in Georgetown. Junior year, hoping to surprise Arentz, her
parents flew up from their home in Puerto Rico. En route to her
dorm, they dropped by The Tombs for a quick bite. Arentz spotted
them when they walked in. She did the mature thing---she fled
through the back door.
Arentz's parents---her father was from Puerto Rico, her mother
from Spain---had hoped she would follow the family tradition and
become a doctor. Double majoring in biology and psychology, she
graduated from Georgetown with a B.S. degree. She almost started
med school before deciding against tradition---she preferred the
impossibly long hours of restaurant management over the even longer
hours of hospital residency. Luckily, her parents had mellowed.
Sitting on the enclosed deck that runs the length of Hemingway's,
watching a stiff breeze whip up the whitecaps on the Bay, Arentz
laughs at the memory of her youthful misadventures. Nearby, 7-month-old
son Steve Jr. lies napping in his stroller. While the baby could
be a clone of his blond, blue-eyed father, daughter Elizabeth,
4, subtly echoes her mother's features.
As Arentz lunches with her daughter, a steady stream of customers
stops by her table and she rises to greet each one. Suddenly,
there's a clatter on the lawn outside---a private helicopter has
landed. Its passengers disgorge, hurrying to a table waiting inside.
They're here for the succulent crab cakes. Arentz smiles and says,
"By land, sea or air, our customers come for the food and the
Arentz was living in Fairfax, Va., when she first encountered
Hemingway's. After college, she plunged into restaurant management,
working her way up the corporate ladder at the Clyde's Restaurant
Group, a successful regional chain. Temporarily tiring of the
food service industry, she set up her own consulting business
and had segued into aviation sales as a bilingual translator.
An airport on Kent Island was a client. Along her daily route
to the airport, Hemingway's began to pique her interest and reawakened
her love of the restaurant business. She became a consultant for
Hemingway's, eventually purchased it, and continued, for a while,
to commute from Fairfax. Arentz and her husband now own a home
on Kent Island and a vacation home in Ocean City.
She assumed, as do many people, that Hemingway's was named for
the author, Ernest Hemingway. Not so. Local lore says Hemingway
was the name of a fisherman who lived up Route 8. She never met
that old seaman but, a longtime fan of The Old Man and The
Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and other Ernest
Hemingway novels, she decided to rededicate the restaurant to
Two years ago, Arentz and her husband purchased the century-old
Chester River Inn. Located five minutes away from Hemingway's,
it houses Decoys, a cozy restaurant downstairs and a catering
facility upstairs. Shortly, the Arentzes plan to merge some operations.
The Chester River Inn will host most of the catered events---weddings,
galas and parties while Hemingway's will continue to be a restaurant
Arentz met her husband, a Pittsburgh businessman, when he eased
his 50-foot Hatteras into the marina adjoining the restaurant.
Along with the restaurants, Steve Arentz also runs his own human
resource development company. He jokingly claims he married Arentz
so she would cover his bar tab---she rolls her eyes at the suggestion.
In addition to managing Hemingway's, Lola's Tropical Bar & Grill
(a fun, casual restaurant downstairs at Hemingway's featuring
great bands all summer), Chester River Inn and Decoys, Arentz
is a member of the board of directors of Chesapeake College. Through
her restaurants, she helps support the local arts community and
a number of charities such as the Hospice of Queen Anne's County.
She's also involved in Bay conservation projects.
At the end of the day when the sun dances on the bridge before
it slides below the Bay, is Arentz toasting the sunset? "I'm hopefully
at home tucking my children into bed---and loving every minute!"